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dkf

(37,305 posts)
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:08 AM Sep 2013

Syrian forces may have used gas without Assad's permission: paper

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - Syrian government forces may have carried out a chemical weapons attack close to Damascus without the personal permission of President Bashar al-Assad, Germany's Bild am Sonntag paper reported on Sunday, citing German intelligence.

Syrian brigade and division commanders had been asking the Presidential Palace to allow them to use chemical weapons for the last four-and-a-half months, according to radio messages intercepted by German spies, but permission had always been denied, the paper said.

This could mean Assad may not have personally approved the attack close to Damascus on August 21 in which more than 1,400 are estimated to have been killed, intelligence officers suggested.

Germany's foreign intelligence agency (BND) could not be reached for comment.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/08/us-syria-crisis-germany-idUSBRE98707B20130908?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=992637

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Syrian forces may have used gas without Assad's permission: paper (Original Post) dkf Sep 2013 OP
That's probably likely bigworld Sep 2013 #1
That is absolutely untrue. From Der Spiegel a few days ago - KittyWampus Sep 2013 #9
Even Obama now acknowledged that this appears possibly to have been the case at the G20 presser leveymg Sep 2013 #28
The source for the 4th Div. rumours are DEBKA, and that appears to have been disinformation. leveymg Sep 2013 #34
little more than hearsay soundsgreat Sep 2013 #2
Perhaps this is a hint? DonViejo Sep 2013 #5
With help from Iran? RiverNoord Sep 2013 #11
Sarin is just concentrated insecticide. Takes no great sophistication to make. leveymg Sep 2013 #39
its still classified as a VanillaRhapsody Sep 2013 #51
What - the use of VX or its recipe? Syria has plenty of it, but there have been no reported use. leveymg Sep 2013 #53
But that still doesn't tell us what actually happened daleo Sep 2013 #44
Which is worse, really? RiverNoord Sep 2013 #3
Then the absolute worst is if he falls and it all gets dispersed which we want to contribute to. dkf Sep 2013 #4
I agree - that would be very bad, but... RiverNoord Sep 2013 #10
So we punish Assad not for giving the orders but for losing control of his people? dkf Sep 2013 #12
Will you trust the rebels more, given that they have a substantial Al Qaeda component? daleo Sep 2013 #47
How safe will it be if the rebels prevail and then have control of the chemical weapons themselves? VanillaRhapsody Sep 2013 #54
That's what I was getting at daleo Sep 2013 #67
We can eliminate the chemicals from the equation....that is one thing... VanillaRhapsody Sep 2013 #68
agreed... VanillaRhapsody Sep 2013 #52
Fair is fair - then any strike against his forces also will have not have his permission. I do not 24601 Sep 2013 #6
then that is almost worse. Assad has lost control of the military. If this is the case he needs to KittyWampus Sep 2013 #7
Wow, you think Assad stepping down results in better control of CW...how does that work? dkf Sep 2013 #13
Same regime, general replaces Assad. See? KittyWampus Sep 2013 #17
I tend to agree that ... 1StrongBlackMan Sep 2013 #23
We have already lost track where all the Syrian CWs are. dkf Sep 2013 #24
Or, it *could mean that after 4 months of pestering he said "What the hell, go for it." Turborama Sep 2013 #63
Sounds to me ... 1StrongBlackMan Sep 2013 #8
For all you know he has already been removed. dkf Sep 2013 #14
He ... 1StrongBlackMan Sep 2013 #19
The Rogue official. dkf Sep 2013 #20
Okay ... 1StrongBlackMan Sep 2013 #21
Why would Assad have wanted to tell everyone he is losing control? dkf Sep 2013 #22
I disagree ... 1StrongBlackMan Sep 2013 #25
Sorry to tell you but that is what they are saying... dkf Sep 2013 #27
Okay ... 1StrongBlackMan Sep 2013 #33
The officer may have been relieved of his command, permanently. We have the intercepts from that leveymg Sep 2013 #31
I think ... 1StrongBlackMan Sep 2013 #37
In that case, we cannot agree to this being done in our names, and will oppose this war. leveymg Sep 2013 #42
Frankly ... 1StrongBlackMan Sep 2013 #57
This is a slow-simmering regional war waiting to boil over with a little extra fuel. We can provide leveymg Sep 2013 #58
I agree ... 1StrongBlackMan Sep 2013 #60
After 2003, we have a well-founded fear of lies about limited wars that get us into longer wars. leveymg Sep 2013 #64
Exactly karynnj Sep 2013 #16
Exactly DallasNE Sep 2013 #65
That was my first thought DFW Sep 2013 #15
I read they have given up on the theory that it was the brother. Will see if I can find the source. dkf Sep 2013 #18
I'm sure neither of them was "directly" involved, and certainly not provably so DFW Sep 2013 #30
what a tangled web is being woven... madrchsod Sep 2013 #26
Sounds like they're laying groundwork for Assad to leave. blm Sep 2013 #29
The problem is, who moves in? Al-Nusra, Assad's brother, PolPot? leveymg Sep 2013 #32
It stands to reason there is a suitable replacement lined up. blm Sep 2013 #40
Brutal methods are hardly unique to Assad in this war. Both sides have to be held accountable, leveymg Sep 2013 #45
Unlike 99% of Americans, the people in that region KNOW that Assad was blm Sep 2013 #69
So, why did we, the Brits, and particularly the French organize exile groups and rebellion? leveymg Sep 2013 #72
I knew that, but, as it grew so did Assad's reaction to it. blm Sep 2013 #73
Of course, the entire operation was predicated on regime overreaction. These things always are. leveymg Sep 2013 #74
While ruining so much in the world. blm Sep 2013 #75
I'm sure no one was more effective at communicating to Assad the consequences of use of chem weapons leveymg Sep 2013 #77
+1 n/t wisteria Sep 2013 #55
Why not include this information from the article in the OP? Purrfessor Sep 2013 #35
Some folks here are determined to make Assad the victim blm Sep 2013 #41
Americans refuse to be victimized again, in the same way, by the same set of deceivers waging the leveymg Sep 2013 #50
Leaving information that contradicts the OP out of the OP Purrfessor Sep 2013 #59
The absence of falsehood is not necessarily the truth or a lie. leveymg Sep 2013 #61
It's not in the same way - discernment, historic context, inc. that of the figures blm Sep 2013 #66
Regime change by other means. Another Admin., another domino. How is this different, really? leveymg Sep 2013 #70
We'll see. Frankly I think they calculated that Assad will come back to the blm Sep 2013 #71
+1 n/t wisteria Sep 2013 #56
And so then launching more strikes could transform the army into a group of chemical-armed militias. David__77 Sep 2013 #36
Makes no difference Cryptoad Sep 2013 #38
Glad you are not in any position of responsibility. leveymg Sep 2013 #43
Glad there more like me in positions of responisbility Cryptoad Sep 2013 #46
We don't even seem to know, much less prove, who is responsible. If those in positions of leveymg Sep 2013 #48
Who is calling for Cryptoad Sep 2013 #76
So you think any war crimes committed by even the lowest ranking soldier JoeyT Sep 2013 #78
Yes,,, Cryptoad Sep 2013 #79
Wow. You've just pinned the tail on the donkey there ... Nihil Sep 2013 #80
Beats Cryptoad Sep 2013 #81
That would be good news. musical_soul Sep 2013 #49
I don't think that changes the decision much bhikkhu Sep 2013 #62

bigworld

(1,807 posts)
1. That's probably likely
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:11 AM
Sep 2013

Syrian forces as a whole during the past couple months have been gaining the upper hand. It would have made no sense for the Assad government to give the go-ahead to this, especially after our government and others had warned them not to.

 

KittyWampus

(55,894 posts)
9. That is absolutely untrue. From Der Spiegel a few days ago -
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:37 AM
Sep 2013

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/situation-in-syria-deteriorates-as-west-looks-for-answers-a-919733-2.html

snip
Yet, it is perhaps irrelevant who gave the order since the entire Syrian leadership is reportedly afraid that the defense lines will collapse. These fears have been fanned by a number of developments over the past few weeks: the unauthorized withdrawal of previously Assad-loyal militias to their Alawite villages; the feared rebel offensive; the declining morale of the regular troops; and the rising losses without military victories to show for them.

The poison gas attack was probably carried out by the 4th division of Assad's army. Experts and defectors agree that this is the only unit that possesses launching devices for chemical weapons. Immediately following the chemical attack, it shelled rebel positions with conventional artillery -- but was unable to take a single location.

Instead, the division lost at least seven tanks in the Damascus neighborhood of Harasta alone. A rebel video provides an insight into the lack of personnel among the elite division: Two crew members flee a burning tank -- but they are wearing no uniforms, no helmets and no radio gear. Shabiha militia members have apparently been forced to fill the gaps in the ranks of the army.

The images are highly significant and don't correspond with reports that Assad has strengthened his military position. Military experts and intelligence agents had been circulating this theory for months, ever since the battle for control of the small town of Qusayr in early summer. Under the leadership of over 1,000 fighters from the Shiite Hezbollah militia from Lebanon, Assad's troops were able to recapture Qusayr.


Snip
Nevertheless, the myth of a military turning point in the regime's favor has persisted since June. This has also hampered the search for motives for the poison gas attack: Many observers wondered why Assad should use chemical weapons if he is winning the war already. In actual fact, the situation has been difficult for the regime's troops for quite some time now. Since the spring of 2012, many of the army's positions have only been supplied from the air because all land routes are under the control the rebels.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
28. Even Obama now acknowledged that this appears possibly to have been the case at the G20 presser
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:28 AM
Sep 2013

See, http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023611888

What we have is no direct evidence that Assad did order the use of chemical weapons, and significant circumstantial evidence that the ranking officials have opposed them, such as the report that the intercepts of the night of 8/21 showed the Syrian Defense Minister was panicked when he was informed and immediately ordered the attack halted.

There's a reason why the Obama Admin. has not released the intercepts from that night - they undermine the case for holding the regime accountable because there is no evidence to support allegations that these attacks were authorized. Now, here is more evidence from the Germans that shows that the civilian commanders have been trying to prevent just this sort of occurrence, as they understand the consequences.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
34. The source for the 4th Div. rumours are DEBKA, and that appears to have been disinformation.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:57 AM
Sep 2013

DEBKA claimed very early on that the chemical munitions were launched by artillery by the 4th Div. under Asssad's brother's personal command from a mountain overlooking Damascus. Some of that appears to have been carried over into Der Spiegel that picked up on DEBKA's earlier piece.

I'll fish that out for you, if you like.

 

soundsgreat

(125 posts)
2. little more than hearsay
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:18 AM
Sep 2013

"syrian forces may have"..."German intelligence"..."Assad may not have"

we need no intelligence gossip, but solid proof of who's behind the gas attacks (we won't get it, though).



DonViejo

(60,536 posts)
5. Perhaps this is a hint?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:28 AM
Sep 2013
With the World Watching, Syria Amassed Nerve Gas

WASHINGTON — Syria’s top leaders amassed one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons with help from the Soviet Union and Iran, as well as Western European suppliers and even a handful of American companies, according to American diplomatic cables and declassified intelligence records.

While an expanding group of nations banded together in the 1980s to try to block the Syrian effort, prohibiting the sale of goods that would bolster the growing chemical weapons stockpile, the archives show that Syria’s governing Assad family exploited large loopholes, lax enforcement and a far greater international emphasis on limiting the spread of nuclear arms.

Now, as President Obama confronts enormous difficulties in rallying a reluctant Congress and a skeptical world to punish the Syrian government with a military strike over what is said to be its apparent use of deadly nerve agents last month, he appears to be facing a similar challenge to the one that allowed the Assads to accumulate their huge stockpile. While countries around the world condemned Syria for adding to its arsenal as most nations were eliminating their own, few challenged the buildup, and some were eager to profit from it.

“It was frustrating,” Juan C. Zarate, a former deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism in the George W. Bush administration, recalled Friday....

full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/world/middleeast/with-the-world-watching-syria-amassed-nerve-gas.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
 

RiverNoord

(1,150 posts)
11. With help from Iran?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:43 AM
Sep 2013

The Iranian regime despises chemical weapons - it's a sore spot throughout the country after the war with Iraq. It makes no sense to me that it would assist Syria in acquiring them. Russia I get - not Iran.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
39. Sarin is just concentrated insecticide. Takes no great sophistication to make.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:00 AM
Sep 2013

Both sides are fully capable of making Sarin and the crude gas rockets that deliver it.

VX is a bit trickier, is fully under the control of the Syrian military, and to our knowledge it has not been used. Yet.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
53. What - the use of VX or its recipe? Syria has plenty of it, but there have been no reported use.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:40 AM
Sep 2013

If Assad simply wanted to wipe out entire areas and make them uninhabitable for long periods of time, he would have used VX. That's part of the reason that there is so much uncertainty about the motives and responsibility for the 8/21 attack

daleo

(21,317 posts)
44. But that still doesn't tell us what actually happened
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:15 AM
Sep 2013

It shows they had means, but a UN report also shows that the rebels also had means. So these arguments amount to saying:

A was shot
B has a gun
So B must have shot A.

 

RiverNoord

(1,150 posts)
3. Which is worse, really?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:25 AM
Sep 2013

Does it matter if Assad personally approved the attack or not? If Assad can't prevent his military, in the midst of a civil war, from using chemical weapons - or mistakenly failing to 'dilute' chemical weapons they are issued - then the situation is much worse than if he had OK'd it.

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
4. Then the absolute worst is if he falls and it all gets dispersed which we want to contribute to.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:27 AM
Sep 2013

Who gave the order is key if the purpose is to find out who needs to be deterred. Maybe it's not Assad.

 

RiverNoord

(1,150 posts)
10. I agree - that would be very bad, but...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:38 AM
Sep 2013

If the scenario is - units of the military using lethal chemical munitions explicitly against orders from the top - then it all is pretty much dispersed anyway. You couldn't really describe such a unit as a legitimate element of the nation's military, under proper command and control. In chaos like that, which, according to the premise of the article, may already be underway, who knows where chemical munitions may wind up?

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
12. So we punish Assad not for giving the orders but for losing control of his people?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:45 AM
Sep 2013

Irony is we seem to want him to lose control aka topple him thus we are the rebels. Or are we supposed to prop him up so he does have airtight control? That certainly isn't what the PNAC wants.

daleo

(21,317 posts)
47. Will you trust the rebels more, given that they have a substantial Al Qaeda component?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:19 AM
Sep 2013

How safe will that be for the west?

 

VanillaRhapsody

(21,115 posts)
54. How safe will it be if the rebels prevail and then have control of the chemical weapons themselves?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:40 AM
Sep 2013

You prepared to let that happen?

daleo

(21,317 posts)
67. That's what I was getting at
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 01:19 PM
Sep 2013

The AQ component is just the most obvious risk. Other parts of their coalition might be quite prepared to use whatever they get control of, too. We just can't be sure of anything, short of installing a regime that the west controls overtly, which would amount to a full scale invasion. And that never goes well, either.

24601

(3,958 posts)
6. Fair is fair - then any strike against his forces also will have not have his permission. I do not
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:35 AM
Sep 2013

believe the President will seek his approval.

On a more somber note, the President should address on Tuesday:

1. If it matters whether or not Assad personally authorized CBW use.

2. Whether striking Syria is an act of war or not. If not, whether he judges striking Washington D.C. (or even US Forces deployed anywhere in the US) with a salvo of cruise missiles would be an act of war.

 

KittyWampus

(55,894 posts)
7. then that is almost worse. Assad has lost control of the military. If this is the case he needs to
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:36 AM
Sep 2013

step down.

If that is not the case, he needs to step down.

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
13. Wow, you think Assad stepping down results in better control of CW...how does that work?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:48 AM
Sep 2013

That logic is amazingly messed up.

 

1StrongBlackMan

(31,849 posts)
23. I tend to agree that ...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:13 AM
Sep 2013

Assad stepping down because he has lost control of the military would not lead to better control of CWs ... because under the current hypothetical, wasn't it the rogue official that used the gas?

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
24. We have already lost track where all the Syrian CWs are.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:19 AM
Sep 2013

The rebels took over a storage facility and they aren't sure if Assad's guys removed it all in time. A civil war in a country with the greatest supply of CWs in the world is a disaster, especially when much of the rebels are Al Qaeda.

Turborama

(22,109 posts)
63. Or, it *could mean that after 4 months of pestering he said "What the hell, go for it."
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 12:54 PM
Sep 2013

*Referring to the German paper's "could mean" argument.

 

1StrongBlackMan

(31,849 posts)
8. Sounds to me ...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:36 AM
Sep 2013

that Assad has a way out of US military intervention, should he choose to take it ... if he did not order the attack (or even if he did) he could serve up the/these "rogue" officers; thereby, communicating that he too shares the international norm of no chemical weapons use.

But I fear, his failure to do so, will be understood as his refuse to communicate support of that norm.

 

1StrongBlackMan

(31,849 posts)
21. Okay ...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:05 AM
Sep 2013

Though I doubt it. I suspect that if that were the case, the Assad regime would be all over the media with the news. Further, they (likely) would have handled the initial accusation differently ... You don't start with: it didn't happen; then go to, if it did happen, it was them that did it; then to, it happened and it was our rogue guys that we have executed. Rather, I suspect, they would start with: it happened but it wasn't us.

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
22. Why would Assad have wanted to tell everyone he is losing control?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:10 AM
Sep 2013

The Obama admin says that doesn't matter anyway, that its Assad's fault even if someone went rogue so that gets Assad no where and makes him look weak.

The info is getting out anyway, and if Assad knows its true it only looks bad for us.

 

1StrongBlackMan

(31,849 posts)
25. I disagree ...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:23 AM
Sep 2013

first, serving up the "rogue" official(s) demonstrates a maintenance of control, not a loss of control ... leaders can only punish subordinates if you are in control.

Secondly, where do you get that President Obama (or his administration) has siad that it didn't matter whether it was Assad or someone acting without Assad's blessing (If I am mis-stating your position here, that was not my intent ... please correct me). That wouldn't be consistent with ahow President Obama (and the administration) has handled this crisis, or other international issues.

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
27. Sorry to tell you but that is what they are saying...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:28 AM
Sep 2013

The United States said Wednesday it holds Syrian President Bashar al-Assad directly responsible for alleged chemical weapon attacks against his people, even though he may not have issued orders himself.

As intelligence units zero in on precisely who may have ordered the atrocity that saw up to 1,300 Syrian civilians killed in apparent poison gas attacks on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, the State Department insisted Assad himself was to blame.

"We ultimately of course hold President Assad responsible for the use of chemical weapons by his regime against his own people, regardless of where the command and control lies," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told a press briefing.

http://news.yahoo.com/us-assad-responsible-even-didnt-order-gas-attack-203204147.html

 

1StrongBlackMan

(31,849 posts)
33. Okay ...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:53 AM
Sep 2013

I missed that. But even so, wouldn't "encouraging" the regime to deal, internally, with "rogue" elements, be holding that regime responsible?

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
31. The officer may have been relieved of his command, permanently. We have the intercepts from that
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:47 AM
Sep 2013

night, and I want to know what was actually said between the Syrian Defense Minister and the unit commander he talked to.

Why isn't the Obama Admin. releasing that, particularly since the contents have already been described with specificity? We already know the source: IDF Unit 8200, the Israeli NSA, so the old "sources and methods" excuse doesn't really apply in this case except as a convenient way of controlling the evidentiary record.

 

1StrongBlackMan

(31,849 posts)
37. I think ...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:59 AM
Sep 2013

we must face it ... we, as civilian-citizens, will never get the information that we seek, in real time, concerning international relations, especially so during moments of crisis. In fact, I would argue that getting that information, in many cases merely complicates matters, as it forecloses options as every decision then starts with answering the "how will this look to the public" question.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
42. In that case, we cannot agree to this being done in our names, and will oppose this war.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:05 AM
Sep 2013

Unlike Vietnam and the Iraq War, the Admin. can't even claim that a "Silent Majority' supports them. LBJ was also otherwise a good President with a terrible legacy. Does Obama want that to ruin the rest of his term as President - if he goes ahead with this, does he even care?

 

1StrongBlackMan

(31,849 posts)
57. Frankly ...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 12:12 PM
Sep 2013

I think President Obama is far less concerned with "ruining the rest of his term as President" as he is with detering the use of chemical weapons (and other wmds). And, IMO, that is a legitimate action that is in the interest of the US.

But that said, I cannot agree with your "oppose this war" frame ... for two reasons:

First, what President Obama has proposed is not a "war" (by any conventional use of the word ... Military action does not equal a war); but rather, U.S. military action in Syria were limited to air strikes using cruise missiles launched from U.S. naval ships that were meant to destroy military units and infrastructure that have been used to carry out chemical attacks.

Which brings me to my second point ... if there is to be an intervention directed at deterring the use of chemical weapons by Assad and/or other WMD-capable nations, as President Obama has indicated ... the American people support President Obama's proposed approach:

Q8X Now, more specifically, if U.S. military action in Syria were limited to air strikes using cruise missiles

launched from U.S. naval ships that were meant to destroy military units and infrastructure that have been

used to carry out chemical attacks would you support or oppose this U.S. military action in Syria?*

Support ................................................................. 50

Oppose ................................................................. 44

Not sure .............................................................. 6

http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i//MSNBC/Sections/A_Politics/_Today_Stories_Teases/13336_NBC_Syria_Poll.pdf


leveymg

(36,418 posts)
58. This is a slow-simmering regional war waiting to boil over with a little extra fuel. We can provide
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 12:28 PM
Sep 2013

that, and any US military strike will do just that. The answers to Q6 and 10 are far more significant, which show fewer than only 26% polled want US military action to protect Syrian civilians and only 21% think that military intervention is in the US national interest.

The way your favored Q8 is framed this would be no more than lobbing a few Tomahawks, as in the 1999 strike against Bin Laden's camp in Afganistan. Well, it won't, and people are beginning to realize that.

 

1StrongBlackMan

(31,849 posts)
60. I agree ...
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 12:43 PM
Sep 2013

this is a slow-simmering regional war waiting to boil over with a little extra fuel. But, IMO, this makes it all the more pressing that the US, if not the world community, draw the line on the use of wmds. There is nothing (very little) the US can do to resolve this regional war in waiting; but we can, and should, draw and if need be, enforce the rules of engagement. That is in the US interest and in the interest of the world.

The way your favored Q8 is framed this would be no more than lobbing a few Tomahawks, as in the 1999 strike against Bin Laden's camp in Afganistan. Well, it won't, and people are beginning to realize that.


Well ... that IS what President Obama has proposed, so the framing of the question is legitimate and correct. To say that any military intervention will be anything other than the 1999 strike is speculative, at best ... and the people "beginning to realize that", are doing so without basis, other than their own speculative fear.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
64. After 2003, we have a well-founded fear of lies about limited wars that get us into longer wars.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 12:55 PM
Sep 2013

No, if you look at the nature of the proposed weapon (cruise missiles) they don't match the proposed targets (launchers).

The rockets that were used on 8/21 were crude rockets launched by simple tubes mounted on the back of small trucks. Tomahawks are not suitable for that. Here's one of those rockets:



What will be targeted are fixed ground targets like hangars, airstrips and air defense radar and missile batteries - in other words, creating a No-Fly Zone by other means. In other words, another deception.

DallasNE

(7,402 posts)
65. Exactly
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 12:59 PM
Sep 2013

For this to be believable Assad would have needed to take immediate action against the rogue officer(s). Since I have not heard where that has happened I don't put much weight in this speculation with the possible exception that the rogue officer was his own brother.

DFW

(54,325 posts)
15. That was my first thought
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:50 AM
Sep 2013

Assad's brother is supposed to be an unfeeling monster anyway, and Assad could only profit from "plausible deniability." The two of them could even execute a few fall guys for "insubordination" and wash their hands of the whole thing while depriving the west of any excuse for sending in a cruise missile or two. As all but a few in the west would be thrilled to have an excuse not to do that, I suspect that some news to that effect is coming. It might be too late, but it's a powerful argument for a face-saving way out of escalation.

 

dkf

(37,305 posts)
18. I read they have given up on the theory that it was the brother. Will see if I can find the source.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:53 AM
Sep 2013

@blakehounshell: "Some U.S. sources now believe Maher Assad did not order the attack and was not directly involved." http://t.co/8OHKKRX8y1

DFW

(54,325 posts)
30. I'm sure neither of them was "directly" involved, and certainly not provably so
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:43 AM
Sep 2013

In countries like that, however, where one family decides EVERYTHING, I'm sure they were not in the dark completely about it.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
32. The problem is, who moves in? Al-Nusra, Assad's brother, PolPot?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:51 AM
Sep 2013

The Alawite aren't going to give up Damascus without a fight. They know what will happen to them if they lose - ethnic cleansing and genocide.

blm

(113,036 posts)
40. It stands to reason there is a suitable replacement lined up.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:01 AM
Sep 2013

Again, I will go back to the fact that Kerry had spent years bringing Assad to the table to work for diplomatic solutions for that region. Assad was even supposed to be a key figure supporting Mideast peace talks. Assad's current mental health, two years past Arab Spring, is not good, and THAT is why he has resorted back to the brutal measures that defined his family's legacy.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
45. Brutal methods are hardly unique to Assad in this war. Both sides have to be held accountable,
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:17 AM
Sep 2013

along with their foreign funders and facilitators. You do realize the implications of such utterly transparent enforcement of moral standards in this case will be the further loss of any claim we might have to being a fair arbitrator in the region and in the world?

You willing to give up the last strands of our claim to being the "Leader of the Free World?"

In truth, we, the French, the Brits, Saudis/GCC stirred up this mess in Syria and Libya. We are responsible, as much as anyone else for what has happened. Only the UN has any credibility in deciding what, if anything, to do about stopping it or punishing those responsible.

blm

(113,036 posts)
69. Unlike 99% of Americans, the people in that region KNOW that Assad was
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 01:28 PM
Sep 2013

working with Kerry for a long time in order to get to peaceful resolutions for the region. There was a lot of respect expressed for his efforts, unlike US media which largely ignored these efforts, though the RW media focused only enough to smear Kerry's efforts as siding with the enemy.

The countries in that region were counting on it every bit as much as Kerry. You cannot underestimate the power of paranoia post-ArabSpring that undid all the progress that had been made.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
72. So, why did we, the Brits, and particularly the French organize exile groups and rebellion?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 01:43 PM
Sep 2013

As I've shown before, the Arab Spring was not originally met with much enthusiasm inside Syria. In fact, in the first five or six weeks it was largely ignored by both the opposition and the regime until the foreign exile groups calls for Days of Rage and armed insurrection in Dara'a.

Really, there were very few serious injuries until snipers opened up on the crowds in Dara'a, also killing a bunch of Syrian policemen and soldiers on April 8, 2011. As for the the standard media framing of the war as an unprovoked slaughter of unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators by the military, that is a myth. Most observers acknowledge that the civil war got started in Dara'a and the key date was April 8, 2011. I suggest you do some research (Wiki's timeline for the Syrian Civil War is a place to start), and you will see that at the start, more Syrian policemen were killed than demonstrators, who were not unarmed and not peaceful. The tanks didn't roll in the streets until the 13th in Dara'a, after some components of Syrian Army units defected and heavy fighting broke out.

I am afraid that what follows the Assad hereditary dictatorship will be worse for most Syrians than the regime that is being swept away by a larger religious war. Our involvement in that spreading war threatens further blowback for ourselves that will make 9/11 look trivial.

blm

(113,036 posts)
73. I knew that, but, as it grew so did Assad's reaction to it.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 02:25 PM
Sep 2013

My view is that while Kerry's efforts were to keep Assad from over-reacting and losing his grip, Clinton was undermining his efforts where she could because she was always a hawk on Syria. Interesting twist that Kerry is now the one bearing the brunt of her failure to be an honest broker there.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
74. Of course, the entire operation was predicated on regime overreaction. These things always are.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 02:34 PM
Sep 2013

I don't know how much Kerry knew about the parallel State Dept/CIA destabilization program that was occurring, but he appears to have lost his grip. I have the feeling he has deeply-felt personal investment in the process, and was severely impacted by the actual outcomes.

There is no doubt, Hillary's advisors and crisis managers are the best in the business. Kerry's don't seem to have a clue. She has done a masterful job of heaping Libya off onto Susan Rice (a willing spear carrier and sword-faller) and now Syria is forever going to tarnish John Kerry's reputation, and Obama's, if he doesn't pull out of this nosedive. Masterful work in destroying her political competitors, all around.

blm

(113,036 posts)
75. While ruining so much in the world.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 02:42 PM
Sep 2013

The reason I know that Kerry views this as a last resort situation is because he truly was counting on Bashar Assad to involve himself in the peace talk efforts. There is no one in this country who wanted to bring Assad into the humane leader column more than Kerry.

Part of Kerry's problem is that his efforts ARE sincere and he is quiet about them, especially when it is necessary to be calm and quiet. That the PR machine has been ginned up against him targeting him so personally, makes me furious....I know where it comes from. It would be difficult for anyone to survive targets placed on you by both Bush and Clinton camps. You know me....I always saw that BOTH camps needed BCCI covered up....permanently. Constantly sniping at Kerry and taking every political opportunity to attack him on credibility issues has been a staple.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
77. I'm sure no one was more effective at communicating to Assad the consequences of use of chem weapons
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 03:36 PM
Sep 2013

Which is part of the reason why I doubt that Bashar al-Assad personally approved this attack. I'm sure he clearly understood the gravest of consequences would follow, including US military intervention. The description of the "panicked' reaction by the Defense Minister to news of the attack reinforces that for me.

This whole thing stinks of an external setup and/or a split within the Syrian military.

Purrfessor

(1,188 posts)
35. Why not include this information from the article in the OP?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:58 AM
Sep 2013

Members of the foreign affairs committee present at the briefing told Reuters Schindler had said that although the BND did not have absolute proof Assad's government was responsible, it had much evidence to suggest it was.

This included a phone call German spies intercepted between a Hezbollah official and the Iranian Embassy in Damascus in which the official said Assad had ordered the attack.

blm

(113,036 posts)
41. Some folks here are determined to make Assad the victim
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:04 AM
Sep 2013

because Bush lied us into war with Iraq. Now they believe ALL presidents want to lie us into war. Discernment is not part of the equation.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
50. Americans refuse to be victimized again, in the same way, by the same set of deceivers waging the
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:36 AM
Sep 2013

same deception plan. Again. And, again. See, http://www.israeleconomy.org/strat1.htm

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
61. The absence of falsehood is not necessarily the truth or a lie.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 12:44 PM
Sep 2013

Whole truths, fractional truths, and null sets - take your pick.

blm

(113,036 posts)
66. It's not in the same way - discernment, historic context, inc. that of the figures
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 01:17 PM
Sep 2013

involved, makes all the difference in the world.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
70. Regime change by other means. Another Admin., another domino. How is this different, really?
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 01:31 PM
Sep 2013

The absence of a fully-demonstrable lie isn't the same thing as complete candor. We're not getting that from this Administration, either.

"Humanitarian intervention" has morphed into "limited punative strike" which is really imposition of a No-fly-Zone without seeking Congressional approval, which favors the opposition on the ground, which will lead to further killing and potential genocide, which will spark an intensification of regional war between the Shi'ia and the Sunni. That outcome is almost inevitable, if we now escalate.

So, what's the essential difference here, except that we are now setting off a spreading regional war that we have even less control over than we did with boots on the ground in Iraq?

David__77

(23,364 posts)
36. And so then launching more strikes could transform the army into a group of chemical-armed militias.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:58 AM
Sep 2013

And if there is any issue with command and control at this point, degradation would only enhance those, making the likelihood of chemical weapons use greater, not less - which, by the way, is what I said when this thing was initially proposed!

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
43. Glad you are not in any position of responsibility.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:10 AM
Sep 2013

Atrocities in war are normal, and we have carried out our share without any Presidents being hanged. The usual pattern is that accountability for war crimes is normally just metered out by the winning side to the surviving members of the opposing side, afterwards.

Cryptoad

(8,254 posts)
46. Glad there more like me in positions of responisbility
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:19 AM
Sep 2013

that there are of you.

Your logic that using Sarin on its own citizen is in any way comparable to our atrocites is faulty .

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
48. We don't even seem to know, much less prove, who is responsible. If those in positions of
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:23 AM
Sep 2013

responsibility are willing to go forward with committing the US to war in Syria and the region on that basis, then we must do everything we can our own sense of morality allows us to stop them.

Cryptoad

(8,254 posts)
76. Who is calling for
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 02:45 PM
Sep 2013

the US to go to "war in Syria"? Making up stuff up does not help your Premise.

-- a War with Syria would last 20 minutes

JoeyT

(6,785 posts)
78. So you think any war crimes committed by even the lowest ranking soldier
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 04:36 PM
Sep 2013

are entirely President Obama's fault and he's just as guilty of those crimes as that soldier? That's kind of fucked up.

Cryptoad

(8,254 posts)
79. Yes,,,
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 04:51 PM
Sep 2013

if the crimes involve weapons of which it is Presidents Obama's due diligence to control.

not sure you understand what " due diligence" is.

It is defined by Webster's as

"the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property "

 

Nihil

(13,508 posts)
80. Wow. You've just pinned the tail on the donkey there ...
Mon Sep 9, 2013, 09:21 AM
Sep 2013

... or, in this case, pinned the death warrant on the head of state whose armed forces
caused death by illegal acts.

Be careful - very careful - what you wish for in your mindless bloodlust ... it might
just come back to bite you in a very unpleasant way.

musical_soul

(775 posts)
49. That would be good news.
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 11:27 AM
Sep 2013

It would mean that we wouldn't have to take out Assad or even debate it in the future. The next question though it what to do with them.

We don't have enough information to be striking them at all.

bhikkhu

(10,714 posts)
62. I don't think that changes the decision much
Sun Sep 8, 2013, 12:49 PM
Sep 2013

If government forces used chemical weapons (as the case seems to be) then their ability to use chemical weapons should be "degraded", in keeping with long standing international law. Of course, the UN should do it, but it should be done regardless.

Whether Assad ordered it or not might lean things one way or another as far as how to go about degrading that ability, but it doesn't change the basic equation.

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